Lebech Talks Feminism, Edith Stein
An advocate for human dignity and the study of bioethics, Dr. Mette Lebech will speak at the Fifth Annual Zambosco-Thomas Lecture, sponsored by the University of St. Thomas Women, Culture and Society Program, at 7 p.m. on March 19 in Ahern Room, Crooker Center.
Lebech, a lecturer in philosophy from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, will speak on "St. Edith Stein's Feminism." The new saint was the most important Catholic feminist speaker and writer in the German-speaking world.
“For Stein, the philosophy of woman is about accounting for and reclaiming the vocation of women to fully contribute to community and society,” Lebech said. “Discussing Stein’s understanding of the vocation of woman and comparing it to that of the human person allows us to assess this distribution of roles as regards society and the family, and also to reflect on the fundamental relationship between community and society today.”
Lebech will discuss Stein’s influence on Blessed John Paul II and his letter on women. She will highlight, as well, St. Teresa Benedicta disparities with Aristotle's theory of woman as inferior.
Lebech said, because John Paul II was a pupil of one of Stein's closest friends, Roman Ingarden, he took an interest in her philosophy.
“Stein's philosophy of woman became widely read,” Lebech said. “It did not claim men and women to be identical, but it rather affirmed the need to educate with a view to the difference and avoid reducing one sex to the other – over and against totalitarianism, in fact, which saw the need to educate human beings for the sake of efficiency. The impact Stein's thought on women has had on the Church is thus due to John Paul II's encouragement to engage with her philosophy of woman.”
Lebech holds degrees in philosophy from the universities of Copenhagen, Louvain-la-neuve and Leuven. She has lectured and published widely on human dignity, friendship, various topics in bioethics and the philosophy of Edith Stein.
Lebech is the founding president of the International Association for the Study of the Philosophy of Edith Stein. Her current research interest is in phenomenological value theory.
The lecture is named for the late Elsa Zambosco-Thomas, a professor at St. Thomas and Rice University who raised four daughters. She also directed plays in 1968. For 27 years of dedicated service, from 1981-2007, she taught in the University’s first study abroad program, in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. She became full professor of Spanish at UST in 1982 and co-director of Spanish in 2000. She was the second Director of the Women, Culture and Society Program in 2006. Zambosco-Thomas made a lasting mark on the University as a woman of faith, culture, talent and leadership and has been a model for a multitude of students and faculty. She passed away on April 1, 2009.
The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the talk. For more information, contact Kathleen Haney, director of the Women, Culture and Society Program, at 713-492-3356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.